Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 19 October 2016
Parliamentary Record 1
Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020
pp 65 to 124
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Wednesday 19 October 2016 78 It is important is to put some clarity around this. Obviously the development of guidelines will be really important. Like anything, everything is open to interpretation, and the assessment of whether or not something is registerable in the register of interests can at times be very subjective. It is not always malicious or malintent when something is left off the register, or submitted to the register well after the fact. A set of concrete guidelines that are very explicit and clear to members of parliament, particularly new members, who are not as familiar with the system, will be very important in ensuring the integrity of the register. Perhaps the Attorney-General could clarify, in her concluding remarks, how often the website would be updated. I have the Hansard in front of me from when the former Attorney-General, on 17 March this year, tabled a report of the Members Interests committee, which said: The committee therefore recommends to the Assembly that an annual return of registered members interests be placed on the Legislative Assemblys website after tabling during the second sitting period in each year, commencing 2017. I am seeking clarification on whether the website would be constantly updated as members update their register of interests, or whether there would be an annual update? I am looking forward to the concluding remarks, but I urge the Attorney-General to pay some careful consideration to the guidelines and perhaps hold some extensive briefings with all members of parliament so we are all on the same page and can ensure integrity of the register. Ms FYLES (Leader of Government Business): Madam Speaker, I thank honourable members for their comments. In the motion I have moved I am simply saying that the Assembly adopts the Committee of Members Interests report recommendations from the 12th Assembly so an annual return of the Register of Members Interests is placed on the Legislative Assembly website after tabling during the second sitting period each year, and that the practice commences next year. I was on the Committee of Members Interests, which is a subcommittee of the Committee of Privileges. A detailed body of work was undertaken. As I mentioned in my opening comments, under the previous Attorney-General the changes were not progressed. It was not debated in parliament. I will answer the question from the Member for Nelson. This is not proposing that you go online and make regular updates. The process will continue where we make written declarations to the Clerk. It will still be available during business hours. But once a year, after tabling it, it will be placed on a website. I suggest that we pass the motion today, and if the committee would like to convene againthere was a great deal of work done. Different states and territories have different processes. For example, in Victoria a report is tabled each year in parliament, but for any changes to the register since the most recent report, a summary can be obtained from the Parliamentary Library. Queensland also has an update system. Others just do it once a year. We could pass the motion today, which is simply accepting that body of work that was done but never debated, therefore it was never passed. It would place the Register of Members Interests online. We could then, if the Assembly wishes, reconvene and look at the body of work that has been done with an open mind to see if people are willing to share this information more regularly and come up with a process around that. I agree with the members opposite, particularly the Member fornot Drysdale Mrs Finocchiaro: Spillett. Ms FYLES: Spillett. I apologise. The first ever Member for Spillett. We would need quite strict guidelines if it was to be regularly updated. There would need to be quality controls et cetera. The intent of this motion today is simply to place it on the Internet annually, after it is tabled in this House. All the other processes take place. The Clerk and the Speaker would have inducted new members to the House and spoken of the Register of Members Interests. The Member for Barkly has shared about his home loan. That is something I have to declarethat the bank still owns my house. I encourage members to pay particular interest to and care
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